Yesterday, as we were completing our word problem of the day, I asked the kids if there were any questions. No hands went up, yet I knew that everyone had not quite gotten the concept because the solution required subtraction and a lot of kids had added.
So I told the kids that I wanted them to know that no one was going to laugh at them if they asked a question or said that they didn't understand. That no one was going to think that they were dumb for asking a question. That the only dumb thing would be if they did NOT understand but sat there without asking me to explain and then still didn't know for the next time.
Then I asked again if there were any questions. One boy raised his hand, and I called on him.
"Can I bring a soccer ball tomorrow?"
OK, that thing about no stupid questions? Nevermind.